Underage? So what?

Underage? So what?

SINGAPORE - She has had no job since leaving school, but her body earns her enough.

Calling herself "girl17fl", she prowls the Internet, mostly on Alamak Chat, for customers.

The moniker exposes her age and fl stands for "freelance", an Internet slang for sex for cash.

Petite, at times shy and looking every bit 17, Jane (not her real name) is a teen prostitute.

"I'm not the first one to do it. One of my friends told me the chatroom is a good place to look for customers," she said.

Jane added that she is proud she does not have to ask her parents for money.

Her parents, who are in their 40s, work as cleaners and live in a three-room flat.

No big deal

In Jane's mind, it is no big deal putting her body up for sale because she needs the cash for parties.

She said she spends about $200 each time she parties.

It became an offence for people to engage in commercial sex with girls under 18 in 2008. But it was framed around human trafficking, with the idea of young girls being forced across borders and into prostitution.

Jane, by contrast, does it to buy alcohol.

Still, the law is clear: Girls like Jane should be protected because of their lack of maturity.

Jane was blasé about what she does: "Men like young girls and most never object even when I tell them my age. I do it only for the money.

"We meet, chat, do it, then I leave."

She said she is aware that underage commercial sex is an offence, but the $200 she charges each session is money she will not refuse.

Posing as a "customer", this reporter met the secondary school dropout on Sept 2 at her neighbourhood in the MacPherson area.

When it was revealed she was speaking to a reporter, Jane agreed to talk on condition that she not be identified because her parents do not know about her double life.

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